The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Random Assault

    6
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Malaria

    5
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Robbed

    13
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Groped

    2
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Burns

    4
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Giardia

    8
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Robbed

    5
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Groped

    9
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Falls

    12
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Beaten

    3
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21